There is one technique to change behavior that you already use but probably don’t take full advantage of. I call it Awareness, Attention & Conscious Change. You can use it to change pretty much everything that you don’t like about yourself. It costs nothing and is proven to work. Come check it out.
What is Awareness, Attention & Conscious Change?
Let’s say you have the bad habit of always tapping your feet nervously as if you were playing the bass drum. If you are aware of it and want to change it, how do you go about it? Right, you just notice it next time you are doing it and stop yourself. That’s what I call Awareness, Attention & Conscious Change. Every one of us instinctively uses this technique, whether we are aware of it or not. Let’s see how we can make use of it.
First, comes the awareness part. If you aren’t aware of a problem you can’t fix it. So it’s important that you notice harmful habits. You see yourself differently than an outside observer sees you. That’s why it’s sometimes hard to notice a problem.
I, for example, used to constantly twist my neck around like a turtle. Fortunately, a colleague of mine called me up on it one sunny day. I had no idea I was doing it.
Awareness also means being aware of why a problem exists. It’s nice to know that people constantly cut you off during conversations, but unless you find out why it will be utterly hard to solve the problem.
Once you are aware of the problem, the attention part starts. I knew I twisted my neck, but that alone didn’t solve the problem. I still had to “wake myself up” every time I was doing it in order to be able to stop myself.
And finally the conscious change part. The part where you “just” have to stop yourself from acting or thinking in a certain way. Easier said than done – right, smokers?
To stop ourselves, we have a couple of tools available.
It’s 6 A.M Monday morning. The alarm rings and you just want to smash it with a sledgehammer. But your common sense gets the better of you and so you get up and schlep yourself to work. That’s willpower.
Our willpower isn’t endless. You don’t even have the same amount of it available every day. When you come home tired and hungry after a long day at work, you are going to have less willpower than after a day at the spa. We can’t change that. All you can do is eat well, sleep well, reduce stress…the usual stuff.
You can also raise your willpower with motivational videos, quotes, or the like. My favorite one is this:
Unfortunately, external motivation like this doesn’t last very long. It’s good for a quick pump up, however.
Willpower is great for smaller stuff like my turtle habit, or when you don’t feel like doing something. But when it comes to changing old habits that have an emotional root – like drug use or overeating – willpower fails.
Our next level of force is commitment. You can use it when willpower fails.
A commitment is something that forces you to take action even though you don’t want to. It could be a friend you don’t want to disappoint. Or losing respect in the eyes of your mentor. Or money you have to pay if you don’t follow through with your plan. The possibilities are endless! What they have in common, though, is their power to force you to do what’s good for you.
Which commitments work well for you depends on your character. Greedy people hate wasting money. Nice guys don’t want to bail on their friends. People with big egos will have a hard time resisting a bet.
There are also tools like apps that post embarrassing photos of you on your Facebook wall if you fail to do what you set out to. But I don’t think highly of these methods because they usually require a third party to hold you accountable. And what friend wants to face the consequences of unveiling your penis to the world?
When all of the above has failed, there is one other good method that gets the job done. Think of it as the SWAT team with a battering ram of behavioral change techniques.
A trigger is something that causes you to behave in the way that you do. It could be a thought or something/someone in your environment. All you have to do is find the trigger and eliminate or change it. It’s basically treating the root of the problem instead of the symptoms.
It could be a colleague who always pushes you to smoke one with him. It could also be that your job is so stressful that your only form of relaxation is binge-watching old episodes of Baywatch. Whatever the trigger is, you need to eliminate it from your life in order to stop the negative habit.
Now, that you are familiar with the general process and the tools you have at hand, I would like to give you a few examples of common problems in dating and love, and then show you possible ways to eliminate them.
Problem #1: Looking down
One of the most widespread and disastrous body language mistakes is looking down to the ground all the time. It makes you look insecure, brings your mood down, and basically tells the world, “Hey, I am depressed! Don’t speak to me!”
Getting rid of this habit is really easy.
- Become aware that you are looking down too much.
- Pay attention to your body language so you notice when you are looking down again.
- Consciously use willpower to stop yourself.
Follow this process over the course of two weeks or so and you will have overwritten it with a healthier habit.
By the way, the exact same process also works if you struggle with holding eye contact.
Problem #2: Not meeting enough women
If you want to meet more women, you need to develop an active lifestyle, which could be really uncomfortable for you – especially if you are used to spending a lot of time at home.
In a situation like that, you need more than just willpower, you need a commitment.
Start out by becoming aware of the problem: Why aren’t you meeting enough women? To answer the question you can browse sites like this, hire a coach, talk to people who have gone through the same process, read a good book on the matter,…
Once you have a clear idea of what it is that you need to do, you just do as much of it as possible. Sooner or later you will run into problems like not being in the mood, doubting the process, or looking for easier ways to solve the problem. When that happens you need to notice. That’s the attention part.
As soon as you notice your self-manipulation you need to commit yourself – the conscious change part.
Possible commitments in this case:
- Signing up for an expensive gym.
- Arranging to go with a friend, or even better, an acquaintance you have a lot of respect for. (with a friend, bailing might be too easy for you)
- Starting a challenge (“I’ll go to the gym every day for 90 days straight and post an image on my Facebook every day.”)
- Hiring a dating coach.
If you keep working on your lifestyle like this, your life will be completely different a year from now.
Problem #3: Approach anxiety
Approach anxiety is the bad feeling you experience before you talk to a person you are sexually interested in.
Getting rid of it completely is an exercise of a lifetime, but with the tools from this post, you’ll be able to lower your approach anxiety to a manageable level.
Neither willpower nor committing yourself will lower your anxiety. You need to find the trigger.
Approach anxiety gets triggered by thoughts and beliefs like, “I don’t know what to say to her.” “She is a goddess. (I’m not worthy of her.)” “She is going to reject me anyway.” So, in this case, eliminating the trigger means getting rid of these harmful thoughts.
- Become aware that you have approach anxiety. That’s easy. Just go out and start a conversation with an interesting woman. Couldn’t do it? Congrats! You have approach anxiety and are now aware of it.
- Pay attention to what thoughts are running through your mind when you are about to approach someone.
- Write the negative thoughts down and rewrite them into more realistic thoughts.
Old thought: “I don’t know what to say to her.”
Rewritten thought: “I always know exactly what to say to her.”
You see what we did there. We just took the old thought and turned it into a positive version of it. Next time when the old thought appears again, immediately stop yourself and repeat the new thought in your mind.
If you work on your approach anxiety trigger with this technique, I guarantee, that you will be able to lower your anxiety to a manageable level within a few months.
You have the tools and know how to use them. Now, it’s your turn to take action. First, comes the awareness part. Observe yourself, record yourself on video, ask friends what weird habits or idiosyncrasies you have. Pay women a drink for their honest opinion about you – it makes for a good conversation also. Whatever you do, doing is key!
After you have a couple of things that need improving, pick the simplest and fix it with the techniques explained in this article. If you always have a few things you are working on, it’s just a matter of time until you get the results you want.
Good luck and thanks for reading this far!